Welcome to the House of Crouse. In this episode actor Geoff Stults talks about the fib he told to land the role of a Green Beret in “12 Strong” while “Forever My Girl” star Jessica Rothe gushes about her favourite movie… and no, it’s not the one we were supposed to be talking about! It’s fun stuff so c’mon in and sit a spell.
Richard and CP24 anchorGeorge Lagogianes have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the new Chris Hemsworth war flick “12 Horses,” Christian Bale’s period piece “Hostiles,” Gerard Butler’s cop drama “Den of Thieves” and Jessica Rothe in “Forever My Girl.”
A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the new Chris Hemsworth war flick “12 Horses,” Christian Bale’s period piece “Hostiles,” and the Gerard Butler’s cop drama “Den of Thieves.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the new Chris Hemsworth war flick “12 Horses,” Christian Bale’s period piece “Hostiles,” Gerard Butler’s cop drama “Den of Thieves” and Jessica Rothe in “Forever My Girl.”
“It’s nice to know there are still some heroes out there making sacrifices so I can go play dress up,” says Geoff Stults, “and I loved playing dress up on this one.”
Stults co-stars with Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon and Michael Peña in 12 Strong, the tale of one of the most successful missions in military history. In just three weeks, 12 Green Berets, with the help of Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum of Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance, battled the Taliban to take back the occupied city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
Based on Doug Stanton’s non-fiction book Horse Soldiers, 12 Strong is both conventional and unconventional in its approach. Structured like a traditional war film, it’s also the first time in memory we’ve seen modern warfare on horseback on the big screen. Once in Afghanistan, the Green Berets discover the best method of transport through the rocky and treacherous terrain is on the back of a horse.
“I grew up part-time in Colorado so I grew up with trail rides,” Stults says. “Certainly hadn’t been on a horse in years. The first day of getting on this horse was interesting.
“The wranglers would throw marks on the ground and we would have to ride up and stop and hit our marks-ish. The good news is the horses were trained better than the actors were trained. They knew what they were doing but they’re temperamental animals. Sometimes they didn’t want to stand there on a weird angle, on a weird hill, for 10 takes in a row while the actors got their lines right. Harder than riding was getting the horses to stay still. Between takes, just to keep the horses chill, we’d be moving them around.”
As the first American soldiers to take on the Taliban on their home turf after 9-11, the soldiers portrayed in 12 Strong endured impossible odds, outgunned and outnumbered 5,000 to 1.
“These guys were already in service and said, ‘What are we going to do to make sure nothing like this ever happens again?’ It’s a story about 12 guys who were willing to make what could have been the ultimate sacrifice.”
Stults is quick to mention that the movie is not only an American story.
“9-11 happened on American soil,” he says, “this is an American skewing story but it wasn’t an isolated American experience. It changed all our lives.
“It is also about the people of Afghanistan and their heroics. This couldn’t have happened without them and Gen. Dostum’s partnership. These people have been occupied, oppressed, dealing with the Taliban coming in and out of their villages.”
“12 Strong” tells the tale of one of the most successful missions in military history. In just three weeks twelve Green Berets with the help of General Abdul Rashid Dostum of the Northern Alliance battled the Taliban and inhospitable terrain to take back the occupied city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
Chris Hemsworth leaves the mighty hammer of Thor on Planet Asgard to play the earth bound hero and Green Beret Captain Mitch Nelson. On leave when 9/11 happened he immediately reported for duty, asking that his team be reinstated to fight the Taliban. “You break his team up,” says Chief Warrant Officer Cal Spencer (Michael Shannon), “and you cut the head off your most venomous snake.” Named Task Force Dagger, they are shipped off to Afghanistan with orders to team with Northern Alliance General Abdul Rashid Dostum (Navid Negahban). Outgunned and outnumbered 5000 to 1 this uneasy partnership must endure impossible odds to defeat the Taliban on their own turf.
Based on Doug Stanton’s non-fiction book “Horse Soldiers,” “12 Strong” is both conventional and unconventional in its approach. Structured like a traditional war film, it’s also the first time (to my memory) we’ve seen modern warfare on horseback on the big screen. Once in Afghanistan the Green Berets discover the best method of transport through the rocky and treacherous terrain is on the back of a horse. In a clash of old and new, the cavalry battle tanks and rocket launchers and it makes for some striking images.
Like so many war flicks before it, in it’s opening minutes we see Nelson, Spencer and Sergeant First Class Sam Diller (Michael Peña) with their loving families before they are sent to battle. It’s standard shorthand to create empathy for the characters. They are family men driven by a sense of duty to their country. All well and good. We’ve seen it before but actors like Hemsworth, Shannon and Peña rise above the cliché to bring some heartfelt moments to those scenes. But what about the other nine guys in the troupe? We never learn much about them and, as a result, they are just bodies on a screen instead of fully rounded characters.
Having said that, for every war cliché—“Let’s get this war started,” howls Nelson at one point—there is another scene that offers insight into the difficult and confounding task the men have ahead of them. There is much talk of the struggle of fighting an ideological war against people who believe their great reward is in the afterlife. “There’s no playbook for this mission,” says Nelson. “We have to make it up as we go along.” As the first American soldiers to take on the Taliban after 9/11 they face a steep learning curve, finally coming to understand that this will be a war of small victories with no clear endpoint. They may win the battle but still need to fight the war. The confounding nature of this situation will be familiar to anyone who has followed the news coverage of the war in real time but is concisely summed up by Dostum. “There are no right choices here. This is Afghanistan. The grave of many empires.”
Richard and CP24 anchor Nneka Elliot talk about the weekend’s three big releases, “Independence Say: Resurgence,” with Jeff Goldblum, “The Shallows”with Blake Lively and “Free State of Jones” with Matthew McConaughey.
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel to talk about the big releases in theatres, including “Independence Say: Resurgence,” with Jeff Goldblum, “The Shallows”with Blake Lively, “Free State of Jones” with Matthew McConaughey and the weird and wonderful “The Neon Demon.”
In today’s world it’s not enough to simply be a hero. Now you must be a superhero. Unlike the old days when square-jawed movie stars rescued damsels in distress or battled cold-hearted landlords, today’s champions won’t get out of bed for anything less than the threat of complete world annihilation. Liberating a cat from a tree or performing the Heimlich Maneuver is considered HeroLite™, the work of lesser lifesavers.
Today it’s all about averting the apocalypse. In Captain America: Civil War the idea of how to police and ultimately save the world is at the heart of the action and X-Men: Apocalypse’s bad guy has grandiose plans to “cleanse mankind and create a new world order.”
This weekend the heroes of Independence Day: Resurgence join Mystique, Quicksilver, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello, Captain America and legendary do-gooders Batman and Superman in some good, old fashioned world saving.
The twenty-years-in-the-making sequel to Will Smith’s mega-hit sees aliens from outside the Solar System attack our planet. It’s life and death on a planetary scale, a premise that has become increasingly popular in recent years.
It’s not a surprise the stories are getting larger and louder. Audiences want a big bang for their buck and Hollywood is pleased to oblige with high stakes situations that provide frenetic action and happy endings (unless, of course you’re rooting for the bad guy). These days Hollywood also looks to overseas markets for mega-revenue and presenting globe-spanning stories helps to attract crowds in other countries.
Business aside, why have audiences embraced world-on-the-brink movies?
Films, says Dr. Norman Holland, Marston-Milbauer Eminent Scholar Emeritus at the University of Florida, work on different parts of your brain.
“The parts that turn off are the parts that plan action because you’re not going to act on what you see on the screen in front of you,” he says. “You turn off the systems that plan, that look ahead that evaluate futures. That explains the phenomenon of the willing suspension of disbelief. You accept the most improbable things, like Stars Wars or Spider-Man or whatever. At the same time the lower centres of your brain are generating emotions like mad in response to what you’re seeing. This is the peculiar phenomenon that you can feel and care about these people on the screen while at the same time knowing they are nothing but a fiction.”
In other words, it’s what legendary purveyor of thrills Alfred Hitchcock said. “People like to be scared when they feel safe.”
We live in unsettling and troubled times and going to the movies can provide an escape. In these heroic tales good almost always wins out, a comforting antidote to the nightly news where stories often don’t have happy endings. It makes us feel good, but, as Dr. Holland notes, it’s also restful.
“As you know they are redesigning movie theatres with recliner chairs so you can sleep through the movie,” he says. “Yes, it is relaxing. This is the part of your brain that worries, that plans for the future, that is concerned about the state of your body. All that shuts down. It’s restful, no question.”
Going to the movies is restful? Good for us? Seems like in our busy, stressful world it’s the films that are the heroes, not the characters.